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Annual Water Quality Monitoring Plan

Monitoring Year 2020

2020 Water Quality Monitoring Plan (xlsx)

2020 Water Quality Monitoring Plan Stations (xlsx)

Map Link to the 2020 Water Quality MonPlan

Every year the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Water Division makes available to the public its annual monitoring plan (MonPlan). The MonPlan summarizes the water quality monitoring activities conducted during each calendar year, from 1 January to 31 December. The MonPlan is developed for the purpose of implementing the goals and objectives of DEQ’s 2013 Water Quality Monitoring Strategy. This water quality information is presented in compliance with the Virginia Water Quality Monitoring, Information, and Restoration Act (§ 62.1-44.19:5.) to help ensure public awareness of water quality issues and conditions.

The MonPlan contains detailed information on DEQ’s monitoring activities including the station locations, specific conditions, frequency of monitoring and costs. A station list by county identifies the specific sample site of each station including important data helpful when using U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps or state watershed boundary maps.

An interactive map of the stations is available at our What’s in My Backyard application. Clicking on an individual station icon produces a popup window of data that lists the Station ID, location information, the program for which the station was sited and the parameters to be measured.

These monitoring planning summaries are utilized by the DEQ central office staff to calculate estimates for laboratory analysis costs for the coming year and to evaluate the standardization of statewide monitoring efforts (site selection, parameter selection, frequency of sampling, etc.). They also provide a convenient source from which to extract descriptive summaries of specific regional, intra-regional and statewide programs on the basis of station locations, parameters sampled, frequencies sampled and the total laboratory costs associated with each.

A description of the individual program codes follows:

ALGAE AL - Filamentous algae collection to assist in the development of monitoring protocols.

WATERSHED AW - The ambient watershed network of stations represents the largest single section of the monitoring program. AW stations are those that are sampled within a major river basin every other month for two years and then rotated to a new set of stations in another basin the following two years, thus completing a statewide cycle in six years. Detailed information on the purpose and objectives of these stations and their selection can be found in Section III.B. of the strategy.

BAY NON TIDAL PROGRAM BN - The Chesapeake Bay non tidal network is identified in section III.E.1. of the strategy. The design of this program is through the U.S. EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office and encompasses a multi-state water quality characterization effort. These stations were added several years ago to expand water monitoring in the Chesapeake Bay tributaries beyond just the tidal sections, and are important for characterizing headwater areas and tracking progress toward nutrient and sediment load reductions under the Chesapeake Bay cleanup program.

COASTAL PROBABILISTIC PROGRAM C2 - The National Coastal Condition Assessment is the federal and state jointly funded tidal probabilistic program designed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and sampled by Virginia DEQ staff.

CHESAPEAKE BAY CB - The Chesapeake Bay Program is identified in section III.E.1. of the strategy. The design of this program is through the U.S. EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office and encompasses a multi-state water quality characterization effort, covering the extensive tidal portions of Virginia’s Bay’s tributaries, mainstem, small creeks and embayments.

CITIZEN MONITORING CM - Citizen monitoring are those stations in segments identified through public participation as targeted for specific monitoring. Public notification for requests from citizens to DEQ to include water quality monitoring is usually a result of problems identified by the public. Notification occurs in the fourth quarter of the calendar year with sampling scheduled to begin in the next monitoring year.

DAN RIVER DR - This is a sampling special study on the Dan River, Virginia, in response to the Duke Energy coal fly ash spill. Sampling under this study was discontinued in 2019 and transferred to routine monitoring.

FACILITY INSPECTION FI - Facility inspections are not specifically identified in the water quality monitoring strategy but are integral to determining compliance with discharge limits. Specific sample locations are not included in the monitoring plan. Only estimated numbers of samples for the purpose of calculating annual budgets are included. For more information on this program, please contact Roger Stewart.

FRESHWATER PROBABILISTIC FP - The freshwater probabilistic monitoring program covers the nontidal free-flowing waters of the state. The program is designed to answer the question of what is the overall water quality of the Commonwealth’s free-flowing streams.

FISH TISSUE FT - The recently re-started fish tissue program is focused on collecting data needed for development of PCB and mercury TMDLs, then to monitor remediation progress once an Implementation Plan is in place. Data is also required for assessing fish consumption designated uses in Integrated Assessment Report. The program has been scaled back and is now TMDL-focused, but fish advisory information will be developed as funding permits.

GROUNDWATER GW - The Ambient Groundwater Quality Monitoring Program is designed to characterize and monitor groundwater geochemical conditions throughout Virginia. It is a statewide, comprehensive groundwater sampling program that documents existing water chemistry. The result is a better understanding of geologic controls on natural groundwater quality and how the quality is affected by dynamic variables such as climate, land use, and groundwater withdrawals.

IMPLEMENTATION MONITORING IM - Post TMDL implementation monitoring to track the progress of TMDL efforts following installation of best management practices and other controls on pollution sources.

INCIDENT RESPONSE IR - Incident response samples are the same as pollution complaints, and are collected when a pollution event involves pollutants other than petroleum or petroleum products.

PROBABILISTIC AMBIENT PA - The PA program is an extension of the Freshwater Probabilistic where monthly sampling of routine AW parameters will be measured for one year at FP stations or within the stream reach. As of 2019, this study has been discontinued.

POLLUTION COMPLAINTS PC - Pollution complaints are special samples collected generally as a result of a petroleum spill.

POTOMAC EMBAYMENT PE - The Potomac Embayment study is targeted at the shallow waters of Pohick Creek (Pohick Bay & Gunston Cove) tidal embayments, Occoquan River (Belmont Bay), Dogue Creek, Neabsco Creek, Chopawamsic Creek, Quanitco Creek, Aquia Creek, and Potomac Creek using continuous monitoring.

FRESHWATER PROBABILISTIC FP STRESSED PT – Sites that have been identified with specific stressors are intensively monitoring for a wide suite of water quality parameters as well as benthic macroinvertebrates.

QUALITY CONTROL QA - The quality assurance program is a component of each of the individual programs and varies in the number and types of quality control samples produced. Generally between two and ten percent of the samples collected in the field have associated quality control samples. These include field replicate samples, field blanks and standard reference material.

REGIONAL BIOLOGICAL RB - The biological monitoring program targets stations to determine the health of the benthic macroinvertebrate community as a tool to detect water quality conditions. The methodology follows the U.S. EPA Rapid Bioassessment Protocol II and is described in section III.E.4. of the strategy.

RESERVOIR MONITORING RL - The reservoir monitoring program targets Virginia’s largest lakes and others by prioritizing the significance based on several criteria. Generally, the largest lakes are sampled every year, and the others are sampled based on a rotating schedule. For this monitoring cycle, 114 reservoirs will be sampled.

SPECIAL STUDIES SS - Special studies are identified by individual project plans and are generally specialized, intensively targeted monitoring efforts designed to answer specific hypothesis related to water quality conditions.

TMDL TM - Total maximum daily load monitoring stations are associated with the development of a TMDL implementation plan for segments listed on the 303(d) list of impaired waters (not meeting water quality standards for designated uses), which indicate the segments that need a cleanup plan.

TREND TR - Trend stations are those long-term stations sited for permanent monitoring for the purpose of detecting short-, medium- and long-term water quality trends for a wide variety of environmentally important water quality parameters.

The detailed monitoring plans are available by directing your request to Roger E. Stewart 804-698-4449,

Monitoring Information Available on the Web

Information on detailed station descriptions, special studies, parametric descriptions and the raw data are stored in the Comprehensive Environmental Data System Water Quality Monitoring (CEDS WQM) database application used by the DEQ to store and retrieve water quality information. Much of the data in CEDS WQM can be accessed at DEQ's Water Quality Monitoring Page.

Real-time water discharge measurements (flow and gauge height) at DEQ and U.S. Geological Survey gauging stations can be obtained at

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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